Past, Past NGC@MOCCA Exhibitions

November 10 – December 31, 2010


Adams/Demand/Farmer – the inaugural exhibition of the National Gallery of Canada at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art program –  brings together a constellation of works from Toronto-based artist Kim Adams, Berlin-based Thomas Demand and Vancouver-based Geoffrey Farmer in which the language of sculpture figures prominently. Here, the artists transform existing materials and sources from the everyday world into sculptures and photographs of altered objects that generate new meaning.

Organized by MOCCA and the National Gallery of Canada

About the works:

Kim Adams

Originally commissioned for the North Bay exhibition Ice Follies, this is one of the Toronto-based artist’s large sculptural works of “subversive engineering.” Adapting a corrugated aluminum grain bin into a shelter with metal water troughs for windows and wooden skis for transport, the artist has created a hybrid functional structure. His use of consumer items and construction materials builds upon the tradition established by Marcel Duchamp in which ready-made items were presented as works of art. Yet Adams’s innovative – and often humorous – conversion also propose new configurations of dwelling, mobility and leisure.

Image: Kim Adams, Minnow Lure, 2004. Galvanized steel and mixed media. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Purchased 2005, no. 41666.

Geoffrey Farmer

These photographs were produced in parallel with Geoffrey Farmer’s exhibition A Pale Fire at Toronto’s Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in 2005. Farmer amassed hundreds of pieces of used wooden furniture in ordered piles in the gallery and turned the space into a kind of processing factory. Each morning, a worker selected items of furniture and stripped and disassembled them to produce a stack of wood. Gallery attendants used the wood to keep a fire going in an elliptical fireplace suspended from the ceiling -the Gyrofocus, designed by Dominique Imbert in 1968. They then collected the ash and used it to make ink to print posters citing workplace mottoes such as ORDERLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS and A TIDY WORKER IS A HAPPY WORKER taken from a list of Farmer had found taped to a desk. These photographs salvage or memorialize the furniture that was broken up and burned.

Image: Geoffrey Farmer, Two Cavities (Pale Fire Freedom Machine) 2005. Dye coupler print. Frame: 124.9 x 94.5 x 5.2 cm. Purchased 2006. National Gallery of Canada (no. 41841). © Geoffrey Farmer Photo © NGC

Thomas Demand

Thomas Demand conceives of and builds sculptures for the camera, looking to the composition and colour of painting as he creates his images. The Berlin based artist depicts significant historical moments and sites,sourcing images from the media, history books or family archives. Constructed life-size entirely from paper in his studio, Demand’s replicas exist only to be photographed and are subsequently destroyed. Space Simulator was inspired by a black and white photograph of the Apollo Mission Simulator used by astronauts to train for moon landings at the Kennedy Space Center between1968 and 1972. The ambiguous, seemingly illogical mechanical object attracted the artist in it likeness to cubist paintings and sculpture. Close examination of Demand’s photograph reveals the visible cuts and seams of his reconstruction, his approximation playing on the NASA training machine’s simulation that provided astronauts with a real experience.
Image: Thomas Demand, Space Simulator, 2003. Dye coupler print, laminated to plexiglas (Diasec process). National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Purchased 2004, no. 41424.1-3. © Thomas Demand / SODRAC (2010)

Installation Shots